Trump talks as if he can do anything he wants as president, but his administration complies punctiliously with court orders. He sometimes questions NATO, but the U.S. seems to be investing more in its collective defense, and has recently gotten back on the right side of Turkey. Contrary to the predictions and the mood of the media class, the United Kingdom has experienced a period of economic expansion in the years since the Brexit vote. Hungary lacks compelling opposition parties, but retains a culture of protest and raucous dissent. The Polish government’s most novel attempts to reform its nation’s judiciary were turned back.
The liberal world order is kludgy and in search of a greater purpose and mission. Maybe it will find it in resisting the authoritarian depredations of China, maybe not. But the world of 2019 is not so cataclysmic in comparison to the world of 2016 or 2014 or 2009 or even 1999. In fact, maybe too little has changed.